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Angelou recalls how Momma used to make her own children bathe and wash constantly, even in cold water in wintertime. She used to insist on them being respectful and clean, which most people were, except for the "powhitetrash" children that came into the town. Those that came to the store were often very rude, but young Maya and her family are not allowed to say anything, because they are black.
The "powhitetrash" would come into the store and crawl all over the shelves, they'd also crawl into the onion and potato bins. They were smelly, unwashed, and Marguerite describes that they would "take liberties in my store that I would never dare."
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; http://www.gradesaver.com/i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings/study-guide/summary-introduction-to-chapter-6